Recently in Sydney, District Court Judge Garry Neilson compared child rape and incest to homosexuality -- saying that since gay sex is no longer considered “taboo”, a man charged with raping his 17 year-old sister committed no crime!
The comments came on July 9, as Judge Neilson considered the case of a 58 year-old man accused of molesting his own sister at age 10 or 11 in 1973, and then repeatedly raping her again at age 17 in 1981. While the defendant actually admitted his guilt to the 1973 charges in court, the judge seemed to believe that the “taboo” against incest and paedophilia was outdated and the man’s actions were not illegal.
The comments really are unbelievable. A court reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald gave this account of the judge’s remarks:
District Court Judge Garry Neilson said just as gay sex was socially unacceptable and criminal in the 1950s and 1960s but is now widely accepted, “a jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now ‘available’, not having [a] sexual partner”.
He also said the “only reason” that incest is still a crime is because of the high risk of genetic abnormalities in children born from consanguineous relationships “but even that falls away to an extent [because] there is such ease of contraception and readily access to abortion”.
He even went on to imply that because the younger sister had teenage relationships with other young men, she couldn’t have possibly been raped by her brother. These comments go well beyond simple victim-blaming in this particular trial. This man clearly has no place on the bench and should not be trusted to deliver justice to the victims of sexual crimes. A loving same-sex relationship between adults has nothing to do with paedophilia, incest, or rape.
The Crown Prosecutor in this case has already demanded that the trial be handed to another judge, but that doesn’t go far enough. Judge Neilson shouldn’t be presiding over any cases involving rape or sexual assault -- who knows how many other victims have already been denied justice in his court? Please sign this petition to demand that Judicial Commission of New South Wales remove Judge Garry Neilson from the bench immediately.
To the Honourable Members of the New South Wales Judicial Commission,
We the undersigned respectfully request that District Court Judge Garry Neilson be removed from the bench due to his recent, incredibly disturbing remarks belittling victims of child abuse, rape, and incest.
His comments stating that incest and paedophilia should no longer be taboo due to increased social acceptance of homosexuality betrays a complete lack of understanding of the gay rights movement and a lack of empathy for victims of sex crimes. It’s clear that Judge Neilson is unable to provide an impartial opinion on cases involving rape or sexual assault, and should not be allowed to preside over similar cases in the future.
Please replace Judge Neilson and help ensure that future victims are able to receive the justice they deserve by guaranteeing an unbiased trial. Thank you.